Tag: encryption

1
Can It Get Any Worse? Travel Giant CWT pays $4.5 Million USD ransom to Hackers who Stole Corporate Files and Knocked 30,000 Computers Offline
2
Trust but verify: Independent report on Australia’s “anti-encryption” legislation released
3
Zooming In: “Zoom’s” Significant Privacy and Data Security Risks brought to Light Again (and Again)
4
To encrypt or not encrypt? That is the question
5
What do you need to know about the encryption killing legislation?
6
Alarming number of Enterprise Cloud Services aren’t enterprise ready
7
Apple sends passionate message to customers following court order to hack iPhone

Can It Get Any Worse? Travel Giant CWT pays $4.5 Million USD ransom to Hackers who Stole Corporate Files and Knocked 30,000 Computers Offline

By Cameron Abbott and Max Evans

In these unprecedented times, where travel around the globe is primarily halted as nations get to grips with controlling the outbreak of COVID-19, many would think it couldn’t get any worse for travel companies. However, they would be wrong, as according to an article from ITNews, American travel management giant CWT has reportedly paid a whopping 414 bitcoin, equivalent to a value of 4.5 Million USD (approximately 6.3 Million AUD), to hackers who successfully exfiltrated over 2 terabytes of sensitive corporate files.

According to the Article, the successful hackers used a strain of ransomware referred to as “Ragnar Locker” which places computer files into a virtual prison through encryption and renders them unusable until the victim pays for the keys. Then in CWT had to negotiate in a public chat forum to pay for the release.  It gives us a rare insight into the dialogue that followed. CWT negotiated the hackers down from their initial demand of 10 Million USD. According to the Report, whilst the hackers claimed to have stolen over 2 terabytes of files including financial reports, security documents and employees’ personal data, it was not clear whether any customer data was compromised.

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Trust but verify: Independent report on Australia’s “anti-encryption” legislation released

By Cameron Abbott and Rebecca Gill

The ability of a government to force a technology provider to create a “back door” into their technology to allow security agencies to “listen in” to communications is a very controversial step, but it has not been the subject of much discussion as any recipient of such intervention is gagged. 

It was interesting to see that the Independent National Security Legislation Monitor has released a report on its review of the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018 (Cth) (TOLA Act). The review considered, and provided recommendations on, the operation, effectiveness and implications of the TOLA Act and whether it is necessary, is proportionate to the threats it seeks to meet and treats human rights properly.

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Zooming In: “Zoom’s” Significant Privacy and Data Security Risks brought to Light Again (and Again)

By Cameron Abbott, Warwick Andersen, Rob Pulham, Allison Wallace and Max Evans

It hasn’t even been 10 days since our previous Blog on Zoom, which highlighted a number of privacy and data security issues prevalent in the use of the popular telecommunications software, and already further privacy issues have been alleged. Let’s put these allegations under the magnifying glass:

Disclosure to Facebook: Even If You don’t have an Account

Firstly, Vice reports that the iOS version of the Zoom app transfers analytics data to Facebook, even if Zoom users don’t have a Facebook account, without disclosing as such in its Privacy Policy.

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To encrypt or not encrypt? That is the question

By Cameron Abbott and Ella Richards

In response to the new controversial anti-encryption laws, Australian tech heavyweights have banded together to kick and scream over the restrictive implications the laws are already having on their industry.

Quick history lesson; the Assistance and Access Bill permit law enforcement to demand companies running applications such as Whatsapp to allow “lawful access to information”. This can be through either decryption of encrypted technology, or providing access to communications which are not yet encrypted. These ‘backdoors’ are intended to provide the good guys with the opportunity to fight serious crime, however there’s serious fear that in reality, these doors could throw out privacy or let in unwanted guests.

While the legislation states that backdoors should only be created if it doesn’t result in any ‘systemic weakness’; this is yet to be defined in a concrete and informative way. Industry points out that once created any such measure has the potential to be exploited by others. There is no such thing as a “once” only back door.

There is little doubt that this will end up in litigation as larger industry players challenge the abstract concepts in the legislation against the reality of their technology.

StartupAUS, an industry group of tech executives, have made several recommendations to amend the legislation. Even though they’re not holding their breath for any significant changes, they’re demanding more transparency around the requirements. Their recommendations include scrapping the requirement for an employee to build capabilities to intercept communications, tightening the scope of ‘designated communication providers’, giving oversight on how companies will be targeted and increasing what constitutes a ‘serious offence’.

Australia’s legislative response to the problem faced by law enforcement is one of the most heavy handed in the democratic world, and now has the world of technology companies with their significant impact on our economy watching the latest debate on reforms with great concern.

What do you need to know about the encryption killing legislation?

By Cameron Abbott and Wendy Mansell

There are now three ways a government agency can gain access to encrypted information:

1. ask you to voluntarily help them
2. demand your help
3. force you build new functions in your systems to help them.

As a company if you don’t comply you could be hit with a fine of up to almost $10 million dollars.

You do have a defence though – if the requests will undermine your encryption systems, making them inherently less secure you do not have comply.

If you would like to know more about how the new legislation will affect you feel free to contact us for any assistance or information.

Alarming number of Enterprise Cloud Services aren’t enterprise ready

By Cameron Abbott and Allison Wallace

A new report has revealed 95% of cloud services used by enterprises aren’t enterprise ready.

The January 2017 Netskope Cloud Report reveals a staggering 82% don’t encrypt data at rest, 66 per cent don’t specify in their terms that the customer owns their own data, and 42% don’t allow administrators to enforce password controls.

Of malware found in cloud services, backdoors were the most common (43.2%), with others including adware (9.8%), Javascript malware (8.1%) and ransomware (7.4%).

The report also shows an increase in the use of cloud services – with an average of 1031 cloud services in use per enterprise, up from 977 in the previous quarter. The retail, restaurant and hospitality industry was the biggest user of cloud services (1193), followed by financial services, banking and insurance (1132).

Apple sends passionate message to customers following court order to hack iPhone

By Cameron Abbott and Meg Aitken

A US District Court has ordered Apple to assist US law enforcement agents to bypass the security features, disable the auto-erase function and ultimately access the data contained within an iPhone 5C that was used by one of the San Bernardino shooters, Syed Rizwan Farook.

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook responded to the order with an open letter to customers discussing the privacy and security implications of the order and calling for public discussion on the issue.

Read Apple’s Customer Letter here.

Access the Court Order here.

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